On Saturday, August 25th, The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will host “Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day,” where the countries youngest fans gather in hopes of practicing with the personal rackets of some of the highest-ranking players, checking the speed of their serve in “The Speedzone”, and even hitting the ball around with one of their idols.
It is the man for whom this event is entitled, however, who should truly be an idol to us all.
But why is ‘Kid’s Day’ named after Arthur Ashe? My return question: Why aren’t more days named after Arthur Ashe?
Ashe was an American Hero in the truest sense. Not only was he the first African-American to play professionally AND win a Grand Slam title, but he won that title in 1968 – a year of historical significance, (The start of the “Open Era” – when professional players were allowed to compete for the first time) and personal. It was the same year Ashe completed his duty as a US Lieutenant. He’d go on to win two other Grand Slams, one apiece in Australia and Wimbledon.
I guess you may still be asking yourself: Sure, but why Kid’s Day?
Because Ashe impacted the lives of children on a GLOBAL scale. I first read about Arthur in a memoir of a South African child in the midst of Apartheid, entitled, Kaffir Boy. There, Ashe was described as an inspiration to every South African child – not only because he visited the country himself, hitting with some of its youngest Black players, or that he fought famously against apartheid in DC, but also because he spread hope for civil rights in a hopeless country – not just by competing in a sport with white Americans, but by beating all of them.
His devotion to American children can be seen in Philadelphia’s ‘Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center,’ and Richmond, Virginia’s ‘Arthur Ashe Athletic Center’ – both aimed specifically at promoting dedication and passion for a sport in underprivileged youth.
Still wondering why it’s called ‘Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day’?
Hopefully not! So this year, when your screaming kids pull you by the arm, begging you to take them to “Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day” on August 25th, TAKE THEM! But – be sure to explain the significance of the incredibly inspirational man for who the event is named.